Restful sleep is the foundation for your mental and physical well-being. After a day of stimulating activity, your body needs deep sleep when your mind and body can rest and reset. When you’re well rested, you’re more alert, able to process new information more efficiently, and you make better decisions. On the other hand, when you’re sleep deprived, you’re more likely to make mistakes and it takes longer to complete tasks.
For maximum rejuvenation, we recommend a minimum of 6 to 8 hours of restful sleep each night, keeping in mind that the hours before midnight are generally the most rejuvenating. For example, if you sleep eight hours between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., you’ll feel more rested than if you sleep eight hours between midnight and 8 a.m.
To promote restful sleep, try this evening routine, or at least parts of this routine:
- Eat a light dinner.
- Take a leisurely stroll after you eat.
- Minimize exciting, aggravating, or mentally intensive activities after 8:30 p.m.
- About an hour before bedtime, run a hot bath into which you place a few drops of Relaxing Abhy oil.
- Diffuse relaxing aromas in your bedroom.
- As your bath is running, perform a slow self-administered oil massage, or Abhyanga, and then soak in the warm tub for 10 to 15 minutes.
- While soaking, have the lights low or burn a candle, and listen to soothing music.
- After your bath, drink a cup of warm relaxing herbal tea.
- If your mind is very active, journal for a few minutes before bed. “Download” your thoughts and concerns so you don’t need to ruminate about them when you shut your eyes.
- Read inspirational or spiritual literature for a few minutes before bed. Avoid dramatic novels or distressing reading material.
- Do not watch television or do any work in bed.
- Once in bed, close your eyes and simply “feel your body.” Focus on your body and wherever you notice tension, consciously relax that area.
- Then, simply watch your slow easy breathing until you fall asleep.
If you still have trouble feeling asleep, try these three meditations to calm your mind and help you fall asleep.
Each week at the Chopra Center for Wellbeing, we teach an Ayurvedic restful sleep routine at our Perfect Health program.